On the Stage: Music and maritime merriment abound in The Schoolhouse Theatre’s latest production

The romantic revue Let’s Fall In Love is playing through March 3rd at the Schoolhouse Theatre on Sanibel.

Let’s Fall in Love is a musical revue featuring many popular love songs. The Schoolhouse theatre’s artistic director, Victor Legarreta, has compiled popular romantic tunes and music from many beloved theater pieces, all tied together with the story line of an original romantic comedy.

The audience in attendance at The Schoolhouse find themselves as passengers on a Love Boat-style romantic cruise. The principal characters, two men and two women, are passengers as well who are single and looking to meet that special someone.

The leading ladies are Elise Benzing and Crystal Mosser. Benzing plays Maggie a bookishly shy and meek single. Her traveling companion is Mary Lou, played by Crystal Mosser, a southern pageant beauty with a wild streak.

The love-lorne gentlemen are Bobby Logue and Bradley Vile. Logue portrays Ricky a nerdy bookworm with little social aptitude. His friend and compatriot is Jason, played by Vile who is suave and self-assured.

Two additional actors portray the ships various crewmembers as well as some additional passengers. Reid Kirchhoff and Samantha Rotella play various roles from cruise directors to lounge lizards and even an aged married couple.

In the first act the singles meet and mingle. Interesting pairings then occur. One couple does so earnestly while one is the result of a few too many libations at the captain’s cocktail hour. Songs featured in the first act include It Only Takes a Moment, In the Still of The Night and How Deep Is the Ocean. Toward the end some mix-ups and jealousy leave our lovers on the rocks.

During the second act the lovers work their way back to each other’s good graces. Songs featured in this act include I’ve Got You Under My Skin, My Romance, Fly Me To the Moon and Till There Was You.

Victor Legarreta’s direction made this piece a lot of fun. Little touches like having the actors playing the cruise directors greeting the audience as they “boarded” and a safety drill inspired curtain speech helped to execute the fun and creative cruise ship theme. Each musical selection and section of dialog moved the story along as love blossomed between the characters. The creative staging used the whole of the theatre and really made the audience feel as if they were aboard a luxury cruise liner.

Elise Benzing, Bradley Vile, Crystal Mosser and Bobby Logue all charmingly portrayed the traveling singles in search of love. Each member of the foursome has a strong voice and created characters that the audience empathized with.

In their various roles Samantha Rotella and Reid Kirchhoff left the audience in stitches and quote often created show-stopping laughter. These actors skillfully provided comic relief with great timing and well crafted characterizations during both their straight scenes and musical numbers.

The Schoolhouse’s production team deserves a nod as well for their hard work, Todd Sherman for his simple and effective set and Amy Jo Kunkelmen for the numerous and varied costume pieces.

If you are in a romantic mood and want to set sail with the Schoolhouse Theatre, their production Let’s Fall In Love will play through March 3rd. For ticket inquiries or more information call the box office at 239-472-6862 or log on to www.theschoolhousetheatre.com on the Web.

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